(By Clarion Sports Zone sportswriter Kenn Staub)
The Clarion Bobcat baseball team celebrated the 2017 campaign during their end of season banquet, held this past Sunday at Clarion County Park.
Players, coaches, and their families gathered in fellowship to recognize the team’s accomplishments and the many individuals who helped make the season a success.
During dinner those in attendance were treated to a slide show prepared by Christie Datko of photographs she had taken throughout the season. Each player was featured in multiple photos, with viewer recollections often accompanying the different pictures as the appeared on screen. Mrs. Datko, mother of Bobcat player Nate Datko, provided all families with a copy of the slide show, as well as an assortment of pictures.
Following dinner, Head Coach Rob Jewett took center stage and served as the master of ceremonies throughout the remainder of the event. Coach Jewett began the proceedings by thanking the parents and baseball boosters for all that they did for the team throughout the season, but especially during the lead up to the state championship game.
After his opening remarks, Coach Jewett presented baseballs to various players in recognition of their individual achievements and contributions during the season. The list of recipients was as follows (in order of presentation):
Highest Fielding Percentage: Kyle Patterson (.973)
Highest On-base Percentage: Spencer Miller (.533)
Most Home Runs: Reed Anthony, Kyle Patterson, Sterling Conner (1 each)
Most Dedicated: Lake Staub, Mitch Geiger (neither missed a practice)
Most Triples: Ryan Anthony, Spencer Miller (1 each)
Throw of the Year: Skylar Rhoades (against North Clarion on May 10th)
Highest Batting Average: Spencer Miller (.412)
Most Sacrifice Flies: Cam Craig (3)
Highest Slugging Percentage: Spencer Miller (.529)
Lowest On-base Percentage (against): Ryan Anthony (.198)
Most Saves: Spencer Miller (2)
Most Runs Batted In: Ryan Anthony (20)
Most Pitching Wins: Reed Anthony (11)
Most times Hit by Pitches: Kyle Patterson (8)
Most Sacrifice Hits/Bunts: Nate Datko (3)
Most Improved Player: Dominic Fleming
Catch of the Year: Sterling Conner (in state semifinal game on June 12th)
Lowest Earned Run Average: Reed Anthony (0.40), Spencer Miller (.000)
Most Stolen Bases: Spencer Miller (18)
Most Strike outs Pitching: Reed Anthony (76)
Most times Walked: Ryan Anthony, Spencer Miller (16 each)
Most Doubles: Spencer Miller (6)
Most Runs Scored: Spencer Miller (29)
Comeback Players: Kyle Patterson (did not play), Spencer Miller (injury)
Following the presentation of baseballs, certificates were given to those selected to the KSAC All-Star Team. Recipients were:
Reed Anthony KSAC MVP, 1st Team Pitcher, 2nd Team First Basemen
Spencer Miller 1st Team Infielder
Sterling Conner 2nd Team Outfielder
Ryan Anthony 3rd Team Pitcher
Josh Craig 3rd Team Designated Hitter
Skylar Rhoades 3rd Team Outfielder
Coach Jewett next presented trophies to recognize those players who excelled throughout the season. In order of presentation, the recipients were as follows:
Gold Glove Award: Dominic Fleming, Sterling Conner
Rookie of the Year: Skylar Rhoades
Hank Aaron Award (power hitter): Kyle Patterson
Silver Slugger Award (overall batting): Spencer Miller
Ricky Henderson Award (stolen bases): Spencer Miller
Cy Young Award: Reed Anthony
Rolaids Relief Pitcher Award: Ryan Anthony
Roberto Clemente Award (best teammate): Ryan Anthony
Most Valuable Player: Reed Anthony
After the presentation of individual awards Clarion Assistant Coach Lee Weber took the opportunity to say a few words. Coach Weber began by noting that this year’s team was a “super group” of players, particularly because they all got along with each other. He then commended seniors Dominic Fleming and Kyle Patterson for exceeding expectations, remarking that the team would never have achieved if they “didn’t rise to the top”.
Coach Weber also commended freshman Lake Staub for serving as the bullpen catcher and doing whatever was asked of him without complaint. He finished his comments by encouraging the underclassmen to work hard next year.
Following Coach Weber’s remarks, Coach Jewett spoke about the seniors individually, presenting each with a gift of an orange and black BWP bat.
Kyle Patterson: Coach Jewett acknowledged Kyle’s return to baseball after participating in track last year. He complimented Kyle on his management of the pitching staff this season and for being a “brick wall” behind the plate. Kyle is the son of Dan and Sherri Patterson. He plans on attending the University of Pittsburgh to major in history, eventually going to law school.
Dominic Fleming: Coach Jewett commended Dominic on being a much improved, noting that he stepped up from being a spot player last season. He praised Dominic for moving from third to first during the season, essentially having to learn a new position on the fly. Dominic is the son of Bill Fleming and Pauline Griebel. He plans to attend Slippery Rock University and major in exercise science.
Ryan Anthony: Coach Jewett described Ryan as a “true ballplayer” who worked his way into the starting line up. He praised Ryan for his play at second and work on the mound, noting that he will be “sorely missed”. Ryan is the son of Rob and Bonnie Anthony. He plans to attend the University of Pittsburgh and major in pharmacy.
Reed Anthony: Coach Jewett depicted Reed as a “crafty lefty” who had a “magical year” against some tough competition. He told Reed to be proud of what he did throughout the season. Reed is the son of Rob and Bonnie Anthony. Like his brother, Reed will be attending the University of Pittsburgh to major in pharmacy.
Coach Jewett concluded this segment of the program by noting that the seniors were “good kids” and “great ballplayers” who would be missed.
After the recognition of the seniors, Coach Jewett turned the focus on his coaching staff, Weber, Andrew Waugaman, and Derek Lauer. Coach Jewett commented that he would be nothing without them. As he expressed his appreciation, Coach Jewett presented each coach with a fungo bat.
Coach Jewett reserved his final comments for the team, noting the 2017 season was not a fluke and that “they deserved everything they accomplished”. He told the players they became a team following their loss to DuBois Central Catholic early in the season, at which point everybody started “picking each other up”.
As proof of their teamwork Coach Jewett listed the collective defensive statistics. During the 25 game season the defense turned 25 double plays, committed just 12 errors during the final 14 games, issued only 71 walks, gave up a mere 26 earned runs in 159 innings for a team earned run average of 1.14, and had a .953 fielding percentage. He noted that, more than any titles or championships, he was proud of his players as “good humans” and “old school players who took care of business, had fun, and won”. Coach Jewett commended the team for bringing life back to baseball in Clarion. At the conclusion of his remarks each player was presented with a copy of Chris Roestti’s D9Sports.com column, “Thank You Clarion Baseball”, to remind them of their work as a team.
As the banquet concluded, each player was presented with a KSAC Championship t-shirt and personalized PIAA championship game t-shirt. The team will also be receiving jackets to commemorate the 2017 season.
Jason Craig, representing the baseball boosters, thanked the parents for their help and the coaches for the time they put in with the team.
(Thanks to Kenn Staub for this article and to Christie Datko for the photos. There work throughout the season has been invaluable. GREAT SEASON CATS!!!!)